One warm July evening, shortly after Clover's arrival at Terroir Farm, Todd told me to look inside Clover's hog barn. He had watched her build a nest earlier that day, which meant she would likely be delivering within 24 hours. How exciting! I hurried over to take a look.
"Guinea hogs are especially gentle with the young pigs ... Right before farrowing, they may behave differently, as in they carry small items or hay or grasses into the hut or to their chosen birth place to build a nest."
Excerpt taken from Curly Tales, the American Guinea Hog Association Newsletter
I hopped the short hog panel fence right away and gave Clover, who was taking a drink, a "Hi there" and quick pat. When I made my way back to her shelter for a peek at the nest she was building I was surprised by a movement in the hay. I yelled back to Todd, "either there's a mouse in here, or she has already had the piglets!"
That's when I realized I was in a vulnerable position. I was down on my hands and knees, peeking in on the newborn babies, and Clover was somewhere in the pen behind me. Yikes! I scrambled up to see what she would do. . . nothing. She was not concerned about my presence at all. Phew.
As they nursed, slept, and explored in their first weeks of life, Clover showed excellent mothering skills to her first litter of 7 piglets. She was attentive and gentle, and even displayed her protective instincts when we picked up the piglets to assess their gender and body condition. A squealing piglet is sure to get mom's attention fast! She grunted her displeasure as we handled her babies but never acted overly aggressive or tried to bite us.
Our first farrowing experience was surely memorable. We are thankful to Becky Mahoney for picking out such a gentle hog to be our first "mama pig" here at Terroir Farm. Check out our expected guinea hog litter page if you are interested in adding these gentle hogs to your homestead. Click HERE to learn more about American Guinea Hogs.